The RUSSH team have hit the year running, ready to watch, listen, read, and just generally consume cultural capital with a renewed sense of hunger in January 2024. Yorgo Lanthimos' Poor Things proved a popular choice for cinema-goers in the team, as did Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott's latest flick All of Us Strangers (I mean, who doesn't want to see Connell and Hot Priest get together?).
While Arts & Culture Editor Jasmine has been voraciously reading through Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet, Production Editor Cassandra tore through Gabrielle Zevin's popular Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Soundtracking our team's January is a diverse set of artist, from classics like Paul Simon and Kim Gordon, to contemporaries like Royel Otis, Ethel Cain and Jungle.
Whether you're interested in book recs, or you're looking to discern which films to go see before the Oscars next month – or if you're simply wanting inspiration for your 2024 soundtrack – the RUSSH team shares their recommendations from January 2024, below.
Arts & Culture Editor
Watch… Stepping away from all the recent film releases, which have chewed up most of my screen time these last few months, my boyfriend and I decided we no longer had an excuse for having not watched The Wire. Imagine my surprise at seeing a baby Michael B. Jordan. Also, Sonja Sohn is an icon?
Read… This month I’ve been absorbed by Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet, a series I’ve had on my reading list for yonks but finally picked up after my sisters gifted me the books for Christmas. I can’t remember the last time I stayed up all night to finish a book, but Lila and Lena’s friendship is so well-wrought, who cares about sleep? Its depiction of the petty jealousies, competition, and loyalty within female friendships is painfully accurate.
Listen… I have gone down an audiobook rabbit hole. In an effort to better understand her, I listened to Emily Ratajkowski’s My Body, which I’m sorry to say I’d initially written off. I also polished off Down the Drain by Julia Fox (a wild ride), Doppleganger by Naomi Klein (helpful for understanding the mess of our current times), Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan, and for a burst of nostalgia, Louise Rennison’s The Misadventures Of Tallulah Casey series. Music-wise, it’s been fun dipping in and out of Spotify’s daylist feature, Kim Gordon’s new track goes hard, and Royel Otis’ Like A Version of Murder on the Dancefloor is particularly addictive.
Watch… The Boy and The Heron. This is such a weird and wonderful film by Miyazaki about grief, family and personal responsibilities. It's visually stunning and incredibly strange. Set against the backdrop of World War II, a young boy who’s recently lost his mother is harassed by a heron, with teeth. I’m not sure I want to explain it anymore, but call me to discuss what you think it means.
Read… In the spirit of honesty, January has largely been filled with reading emails and listening to audiobooks to try and sleep in spite of this crazy humidity. My audible account has had me flicking between The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter and Stephen Fry reading Sherlock Holmes because I am still a child that loves mysteries.
Watch… My first cinema trip of 2024 was spent going to see Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things, which I wasn’t sure if I was going to love. The costuming was so original and fantastical (I'm predicting a million Bella Baxters at Halloween this year), and the dialogue was funny as hell. Loved that there were a million allegories to pick apart, too. I also delved into A Bigger Splash, Luca Guadagnino's 2015 thriller. As is usual with his films, the scenery was as much a character as the humans at the centre of the story. There's a lot to love in this one: rock star Tilda Swinton; opulent Italian villas; a murder mystery.
Read… My first completed read of the year was Gabrielle Zevin’s super-popular video game-inspired novel Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. It’s the first book in a while that I really felt absorbed by, or teared up over. It wasn’t life-changing per say, but who doesn’t love a good story?
Listen… I purchased tickets to see one of my favourite bands, Jungle, in Sydney next month with a friend and have been enjoying the excuse to pump their latest album, Volcano, just about daily in preparation. I haven’t been this excited for a gig in a while, so you best believe I will be turning it up to 11 until then.
Assistant to Editor-In-Chief
Watch… I started watching the TV show The Bear right before the award season and the Calvin Klein campaign, so I felt like I started at a pretty good time. Absolutely loved it, and Ayo Edebiri is just an absolute queen. In the cinemas I saw Poor Things, which is just outstanding by the way, and All of Us Strangers. The one thing I have to say with that movie is, honestly, who is turning away Paul Mescal if he is knocking?!
Read… In the midst of all these new movies, the only thing I have been reading is Letterboxd reviews. I’ll be thinking half the time ‘Where is their Pulitzer Prize?’ because the internet is so colourful on that app.
Listen… The Japanese House and Royel Otis, are on a bit of a loop at the moment. So gentle, and good vibes all around when you listen to them.
Consumer Revenue Manager
Watch… Pride and Prejudice. This is one of my all time favourite movies, so I purchased it on iTunes for full accessibility if and when I’m feeling romantic. On the genre of romance – despite the mixed reviews, I recently went to see Anyone But You at the cinema and it was an enjoyable easy-watch rom-com with some funny bits. Definitely recommend!
Read… The book I have recently been flicking through is Spaces for Living by Tamsin Johnson. This book was gifted to me from the RUSSH team as an early birthday gift and I love it! A fantastic interiors book that brings inspiration to a girl like me, stuck in the maze of renovations.
Listen… I have been doing my best to pick up playing piano again (most likely in the spirit of Pride and Prejudice). I have been listening to my “pianoforte” playlist along with some much needed YouTube tutorials on the chosen song of the day. Most recently it has been a fan favourite – River Flows In You by Yiruma.
Creative Studio and Campaigns Manager
Watch… 2024 is my year of realising things, I’ve decided. And the best way I know how to prompt such realising is through immersing myself in my favourite medium – screen and television. I have also recently opened a Letterboxd account, and so my January of watching has been absolutely bumper. Poor Things stands out as a favourite watch for the month, alongside All Of Us Strangers. On the TV front, I started watching The Walking Dead and it is scratching a deep itch for good 00’s TV (the golden era of television in my eyes). Follow me on Letterboxd for more xxx
Read… I’m also trying to be inspired by books this year but this will be a fool's errand given my lack of ability to read (bad attention span). But I have started Strange Hours: Photography, Memory and the Lives of Artists by Rebecca Bengal, which is a compilation of essays and articles by the author on photographers and their practices, which I’m using to help me Realise Things ™ creatively.
Listen… I’ve been listening to Ethel Cain’s Hard Times followed immediately by Paul Simon’s Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes in a bit of a double feature moment, which sparks an existential crisis each time. Also, in the spirit of Laneway being next week, I’ve had RAYE’s album on repeat.
Digital Strategy Director & Associate Publisher
Watch… I’m still making my way gradually through awards season films">all the awards season films. It’s my annual January ritual. So far, I’ve seen Past Lives, May December, Killers of the Flower Moon, Saltburn (obviously) - and Barbie and Oppenheimer of course. I did watch The Holdovers over the weekend too, which I would highly recommend. Poor Things and Anatomy of a Fall are next on my list.
Read… With the release of the trailer for the film, I need to read Three Women before the movie comes out. I’m very much a book before movie type of person and my window to knock this one out is dwindling.